It’s been so many months that the eighth and final season is available on DVD and Blu-ray, as of today, which you gotta admit is perfect for those of us with a whole lot of time on our hands, or at least those of us who could use a distraction from the wild state of the world. To celebrate the release of the season, which also includes deleted scenes, other special features, and a retrospective doc featuring appearances by the main cast, we sat down and had a virtual chat with leading ladies Kat McNamara, Juliana Harkavy, and Katie Cassidy that somehow hit on the past, present, and future.
That future will hopefully include a future-set spinoff series starring the three of them, about which they are feeling pretty confident, but the present is somehow the bigger question mark right now, thanks to the fact that everything—including all TV production—is now put on hold for the forseeable future.
Kat McNamara: I’m surviving. Trying to stay creative and find things to do, and stay productive, stay as busy as possible.
Katie Cassidy: Actually this isn’t that difficult to be honest, because I’m just a homebody.
Juiliana Harkavy: Same.
Katie: But it’s really interesting because I feel like I’ve gotten more in touch with my creative side. I also feel like my own contractor, like, hmm, I don’t like this wall. Google how to take down a wall. I’ve been painting cupboards and building things.
Juliana: Outside of checking on everybody’s safety and missing friends, it’s been really peaceful. I’ve been gardening a lot, and just thinking about how to make life a little bit more sustainable on our own without needing to go out, so it’s been good.
Kat: I think it’s sort of a fun challenge, because there are ways you can be creative; you just have to find them, you know whether that’s developing projects or writing or creating or just catching up on movies.
Katie: That’s a good point. I started actually taking the masterclasses. Like, for example, Shonda Rhimes, she teaches a masterclass on writing television, so I’ve been writing a lot and learning. You’re kind of forced to develop different areas of your creative side, whether it be singing, writing, drawing, painting, you know. It’s making us get to know ourselves.
Juliana: Yeah, trying to stay positive.
Katie: I think it’s nice. I like to say it’s the calm before the storm, time to sort of reset in the hopes that our show does go. But I also think it’s a positive thing because people are bored and I feel like they’re forced to stay at home, but that’s what we do. We entertain. We’re a television show. So hopefully we do get picked up and it’ll give you more content. We’ve already shot our pilot, so in terms of picking us up, it would be nice to bring people together to entertain them.
Kat: It’s one of those things where with pilots, you can never tell, and in this situation, it’s even more so that you can never tell, so I’ve kind of left it all up to the universe.
Juilana: I like to think that we will be picked up and this is just a lovely long vacation before we work our asses off for the next five years.
Kat: If anything, it’s exciting, because the television industry in and of itself has been sort of the wild west for a while with streaming services and all these different mediums now that we have, and I think even more so I think this gives people time to develop and think about what other possibilities that are even further outside the box than people had previously thought about, which just leaves room for more stories to tell.
Katie: Do you mean in terms of production moving forward or storytelling?
E! News: A little of both. Like how does TV acknowledge the fact that the world changed in between this season of TV and next season?
Katie: I feel like there’s gonna be a lot of stories, I mean myself included. I’ve been writing about this period of time. I think that it is going to change the way we function on a daily basis, but I actually think for the better. People are going to be more cognizant and careful, and like germs—I feel like as human beings, we were so carefree that now it has brought us back into our awareness. We’ll be clean and cognizant and self aware in how we function on a daily basis.
Katie: Yeah, and I think in terms of production and shooting and going back to set and being around crew, I was thinking about that. I think the way that’s going to have to come back together, there’s probably going to be daily testing to determine whether you can work or not. I don’t know how they’re going to handle that, but they’ll figure something out and until then, I’ll just continue trying to be creative and resourceful.
Kat: Yeah! It’s great. People are rewatching Arrow, people are live tweeting. I just did a live tweet of an old Shadowhunters episode with a bunch of fans that was organized last week, but it’s so fun that people are re-experiencing things that they love. Like I went back and watched Jurassic Park last week.
Katie: Me too! I watched Jurassic Park like three days ago. I love that movie.
Kat: It’s funny though to see, just going back and rewatching things like Jurassic Park where the world has completely changed because of a scientific innovation, or going back and watching True Blood and all the things that go on in that show. It’ll be interesting to see content-wise if people lean into this or people create more escapist content, because I think there’s room for both. And I think as human beings it’s cathartic to laugh about something that scares us, and then to explore the darker side of something that scares us, but also to be transported to another world. So I think it’ll be interesting to see what the trend tends to be.
Katie: I mean, sorry, this is gonna be a little bit self-absorbed, but the episode I like is also the episode I enjoyed filming the most, called “Canaries” (season 3, episode 13). Sorry ladies, you weren’t with us yet, but the episode’s about my character’s storyline. I enjoyed it a lot, watching it, and I also enjoyed filming it, so I guess I’m a little biased. But it’s a really great episode.
Katie: I loved that episode.
Juliana: My episode would be season 8, episode 9. Our episode, for the pilot. It was actually my favorite episode to film, and it’s just good to refresh and see what’s going to happen in the future.
Kat: Oh yeah. When I initially auditioned, I didn’t know that I was auditioning to be the Olicity baby. The side I was given was for some rookie cop that had a dark past, and then I got a call from Beth Schwartz, our showrunner, and she’s like hey, we’re so happy to have you on the show. By the way, everything you know is a lie, you’re Oliver and Felicity’s kid. So having seen how strong the Olicity fandom was, I knew that I had a lot of responsibility cut out for me, so I went back and binged the entire series so I could pull little character traits so I could pull little character traits and be the best amalgamation of those two I possibly could.
Katie: Oh my gosh, I just want to say we are the luckiest production ever, because we’ve had a lot of people since the pilot, or since season one, who have come onto our show. Emily, she started as a guest star, and then Caity Lotz. We’re so lucky—so lucky—and so grateful because all of the people they’ve brought onto our show, not only are they incredible actors and talented, but they’re such good people, like genuinely good people. So it was actually great and warm and welcoming, new characters, new storylines, it kept the show fresh. And to have a cast that genuinely loves each other and we don’t really have a bad egg in the group, if you will, we’re blessed. So I’m grateful for all of you.
Juliana: We’re very blessed to have a kind and welcoming group. I felt the same. Like immediately, open arms from everybody. I think it made it easier to work and I think it’s part of why the show had such long-term success, because it was a great group of people.
Kat: Ultimately it’s a huge responsibility, right? We all have those characters that we’ve looked up to and attached to and seen ourselves in, and it’s a huge blessing but it’s also something that I take very seriously. And I feel so lucky that the Shadowhunters fandom welcomed me with open arms and the Arrow fandom did as well. What I love about these fandoms is they’re so supportive and so passionate but they’re also opinionated, and they’re not afraid to say what they think and they’re not afraid to have open discussions about things, which I think is such a great part of having the online community. Being able to tell a story that people are so passionate about, as passionate as we are about creating it, they’re just as passionate about receiving it and being a part of the journey with us, so that’s the biggest blessing.
It’s difficult, but I think as long as you don’t feed into that and just continue to try to do your job the best way possible, and do the work and try to make it as legit as possible, the fans appreciate it. And we have the best fans in the world.”
Arrow aired on The CW.